Thursday, January 27, 2011

I'll have my cake and......nevermind

Just incase you didn't know it, today is National Chocolate Cake Day, as I have been reminded by Jenny only a few times today.

It has been a little over a week since I had my last treatment and it has been up and down. I have felt pretty good for the most part. On Sunday Jenny and I had Dillard, Jay, Carolyn, Georgia, and Chandler over to our house for the football games and dinner. The Bears' game didn't go exactly how we all wanted but we all still had a good time.

Things turn a little turn on Tuesday morning when the genius that I am woke up and instead of taking my antibiotic 2 hours after I had eaten something I took it as I woke up and was going to eat something in an hour. This made me pretty sick and caused the rash that is on my face to break open. I can now prove that I am a true Gamecock fan as I have the garnet face to back it up.

Jenny and I went to the Life Center today and met with a nutritionist. She basically took everything that we like to eat and threw it out the window and then closed it really fast. Here Jenny and I thought that we had really cleaned up what we ate and how we prepared it but we were wrong. It will now be LOTS of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and not a lot of my meat and potatoes. I think that I am most dissapointed to hear that ice cream is not something that is a healthy choice. (yes I really know it is not healthy) I feel Jenny is just as disappointed about chocolate not being on the approved list as I am about my ice cream.

I hope that everyone has a great weekend and in case you didn't see it on facebook, BrightLife now has it's own webpage. They did such a great job with it and you can visit it by clicking on the BrightLife logo on the rightside of this page or by going to

Friday, January 21, 2011

Round 2 Done, Chemo - 1, Tim - 1

So just to go ahead and clear this little misunderstanding up, I am not pregnant. I do appreciate all of the congratulatory texts I received this morning though. :) I believe the word I should've used yesterday was "fun" rather than "exciting" as my dad pointed out. Lesson learned on thinking before I speak, haha.

Tim was unhooked this morning and didn't need any extra fluids so I think we can officially chalk him up for a win this week. They've given him some prednisone to hopefully help clear his face and body up from the rash the rest of the way, which I know he will be really grateful for as it is uncomfortable to deal with.

Ok, so here is the real news that we are excited about. My company, Erwin-Penland, has put together an event for BrightLife at Soby's on February 3. They've done such an amazing job with everything (as you can see by the poster below). If you'd like more information here is a link to the page with it all (you can access this even if you don't have a Facebook account): 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Round 2

This round has gone MUCH more smoothly than the last. This time they switched up a few variables and it looks as though, at least for now, they've found the winning combination. Not too bad considering he is only on the second round...

Rather than knocking him out cold with the Benedryl they subbed in Claritin and incorporated a new anti-nausea med as well. Although his appetite is not at it's usual level it is much above where it was last week so we will consider it a win. Things really are looking up as Tim's rash is starting to get rehydrated it seems and has started to fade a little. We've been told that it will be an up and down thing where it will come and go but it's really nice for him to feel as though he has received so many wins this week.

On another front, I got a Facebok message from Megan Heidlberg this morning saying that Tim's oncologist was about to be on Your Carolina. I knew Tim would be excited to watch so i woke him up and got him out to the couch just in time. Dr. Edenfield did a great job (as did Megan of course) and Tim lit up when Megan mentioned his name on air. That kid is a sucker for people remembering him :). Here is the link to watch if you want to see just why we think Dr. Edenfield is so wonderful:

This good day was capped off with our friends, the Stathakis', dropping off dinner from Stax. Easily one of my favorite restaurants. Unfortunately we didnt get to hang out with Michael for too long due to Tim's insurance nurse case worker being here our introductory meeting but it was good to see him.

We have some other pretty exciting news to share tomorrow but right now Tim is snoring away so I need to get to bed so I can actually get to sleep before he gets too loud :).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Prep for Round 2

After last week's big snow (which even after a week and rain, we still have an ice covered driveway) the rest of the week remained pretty uneventful with going back to work.

Tim had a pretty big 3-day weekend starting with my sister coming into town and dinner with my family on Friday night at the Orient. He had a plane ticket leftover from a cancellation due to all of the happenings from last year and on Saturday Tim finally used it to head up to Chicago with Steven for the Chicago Bears play-off game. He's said that he had a great time with everyone and got back yesterday about an hour before his blood work and oncologist appointment.

We also have bad news that is also good news, we've begun to see some side effects from Tim's medications. One of the new medicines that Tim is on, called Vectibix, has caused him to develop a rash on his face, neck, chest, back, arms, scalp and even in his ears and his nose. It looks a lot like chicken pox coupled with a sunburn and comes and goes in its intensity. He has been in some pain with it (hence the absence of Tim's typical big bright smile in the above picture) but nothing that some Advil doesn't take care of. It causes some pretty severe dry skin so he has been started on a special regimen of cleansers, lotions, creams and antibiotics. The trick for him really is just staying ahead of the dryness so it doesn't get out of control.

The reason the rash has shown up is because Vectibix is in a new class of treatments (ready for your biology lesson of the day?) called EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) inhibitors. Unlike chemo they don't destroy both healthy & cancer cells but instead primarily will go after only the cancer cells. I've read a lot on the internet saying that you want to get a rash with these types of treatments as that means it is working as it should. Yesterday Lynn (Tim's nurse) & Heather (The Nurse Practitioner that works with Dr. Edenfield) both confirmed that having a rash is a very good thing. Apparently there is a strong correlation between getting the rash and getting a benefit from the treatment, it doesn't mean that he is being cured necessarily but it does mean that the medicine is getting where it is supposed to go and doing what it is supposed to. So its a double-edged sword that isn't a lot of fun for him to deal with but hopefully good things will come from it down the road! Besides, to me, he is still just as beautiful as always. :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day

Hope everyone is enjoying their day of snow!

We all have been :) We are at 8"+ and still going!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Round 1 Done, Chemo - 1, Tim - 0

Well Round 1 is in the books and I am very happy to see it leave. I guess I thought I would breeze through everything like I did the last 12 times but that was not the case. This took a little more out of me than I expected, but that could be due to me not eating anything before I went in on Wednesday and not really feeling like eating anything the rest of the time. I will not make that mistake again.

I slept for the better part of Wed - Fri. Jenny kept a steady dose of nausea medicine in me those days so me sleeping a lot is not a big surprise. I had to get an IV for fluids when I got unhooked on Friday just to make sure I wasn't dehydrated from not really eating or drinking anything but that's pretty standard.

This weekend was much better as my brother's roommate from college, Kevin, came into town. He and Steven provided plenty of comic relief. The two of them together might be the funniest pair in America. I get to hang out with the two of them again, along with Mark next weekend when we go to Chicago to watch Jay and the Bears play in their playoff game.

I'm ready to head back into the office tomorrow and get back to my normal routine for the next week and a half that is if Snowgate 2011 doesn't happen. I'm pretty sure it won't be as bad as they say it will but I'm not a weather forecaster so what do I know. I hope everyone had a great weekend and a great next week.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Round 1

Today was Tim's first day back on chemo and although parts of it were really similar to his first experience, we also learned a lot. We first learned that one of the new drugs he is receiving (can't remember which one it was) can cause a pretty severe allergic reaction so they loaded Tim up with a nice big dose of Benadryl. We quickly learned just how loopy that made Tim (and how entertaining that was) as he began slurring his words, his head became a bobble-head and his eyes turned to tiny little slits. He didn't make it much longer until he was out for a good hour to an hour and a half. See the picture below (until I get censored by him and am forced to remove it) of him just as the Benadryl was starting to hit. His face was priceless as he enjoyed the ride and I'm going to be in SO much trouble for sharing :).

We also found out that there is a new protocol for how he has to receive his pump. A company called Intramed Plus has to send one of their representatives over to attach his pump and the 5FU (aka one of the chemo drugs). A sad part of this discovery was that he will no longer have the same fanny pack for each treatment so bedazzling the fanny pack this time is no longer an option. I have to say I was very disappointed to learn that as I had just talked him into getting it bedazzled as of yesterday. But we had to learn how to use a new pump (which was pretty much the same as the old) so we spent a good amount of time getting the run-down from one of Intramed's nurses which cut into Tim's naptime.

Unfortunately we're not really sure if it was the lack of napping (or due to napping which he usually doesn't do during treatments), the fact that he had a cold going into this or that its just hasn't been very long since his last set of treatments but he is feeling pretty awful today. As he put it, it feels like he is on Round 13 rather than starting over at Round 1 again. I'm keeping him loaded on nausea meds, liquids and bland foods and we're hoping that we can get ahead of it all by tomorrow so we know better how to deal with everything for Round #2. Thank you all so much for the support, you all are amazing!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Prep for Treatment

All of us get knocked down, but it's resiliency that really matters. All of us do well when things are going well, but the thing that distinguishes athletes is the ability to do well in times of great stress, urgency and pressure." ---Roger Staubach

I thought this quote was a really great description of Tim and his attitude towards everything thus far. We had a great (normal) Christmas even though he ended up with a cold and my mom had her hernia repaired the day before Christmas Eve. We were able to go to Mrs. Pittman's condo on Folly with Steven, Haley, Jay and Carolyn for New Years which made for a great time as well. We even got go to lunch with my friends, Emily and Megan, and the Callihams came over to help all of us bring in the New Year. I got to bring Tim's cold back from Charleston but otherwise everything has been great!

We went to see Dr. Edenfield this morning to get our questions answered and have blood work done for Tim's first round of chemo that starts on Wednesday. Right now he doesn't feel nearly as apprehensive about this protocol because it seems so similar to the chemo he had last time. We're still hopeful this will be the cure for him but are continuing to look into clinical trials just in case. He also asked that we both get flu shots so we got to go on a short date to Walgreens after his appointment.

In other news some of our friends, the Earls and the Groomes, have put together a group called the BrightLife Foundation for us. My company, Erwin-Penland, has also taken on a huge role and so many people have offered up their talents for all of this. Everything is still in the planning stages but we are really excited to share more information over the next few weeks as plans are finalized. Until then here is the logo a group at EP created for the foundation, I may be a little biased but I think its pretty amazing!

Getting the word out and bringing more awareness to colon cancer is a big goal of ours so we are so excited and grateful that so many people have been proactive in starting this for us. We're really hoping this foundation gains ground and that it becomes something we can continue even after we get through this stage. Our view is that if we can really get the word out there then more focus may be put towards research directly aimed at colon cancer which can do nothing but to benefit Tim and anyone else with this disease.

So chemo starts again on Wednesday and we are imagining it will be pretty similar to the last experience but will let you know what happens as we find out. Have a great week!